The Facebook Camera App: My Impressions

Seeing as I have a US iTunes account, which I dearly cherish, I got to download the Facebook Camera app, currently exclusive for iPhone, before its availability on other stores. So I tested it for a whole day on my iPhone 4S and these are my initial impressions.

It’s pretty fast. Once you launch the app, it takes you immediately to a news feed version for Facebook’s photos. You can see pictures that your friends uploaded and comment on them. This is where the pictures you take will go as well. You can swipe among the pictures your friends were tagged in. Loading the pictures is much faster than the regular Facebook app, which I think is horrible at handling pictures.

Facebook Camera is streamlined enough to post pictures on your Facebook timeline without much effort. Once you take the picture, you’ll get many filters to choose from before sharing your work. Those filters are a total of 14 (apart from normal). You access them by tapping on a brush button similar to that in Apple’s iPhoto app. They are similar to the filters you get in instagram but are named differently, obviously. You can upload pictures in batches, faster than with the regular Facebook app, and in higher resolution.

Once you’ve chosen the filter of choice, you click on the button to post. Now you’re back to familiar territory, similar to the Facebook app for iOS. However, you can actually save a post draft here in case you decided you wanted to save sharing the picture for later. That’s something I hope they add for the regular Facebook app.

Once you share the picture and it uploads, it’ll appear on your timeline as posted from “Facebook Camera.”

Overall, I think it’s an interesting app. I really like the icon, actually. But it’s not quite a home-run. Will it overtake instagram? I doubt that’s Facebook’s intention but they’re not betting right if they think it will. While it has its advantages, such as saving the original picture in your camera roll immediately after taking it, it has its drawbacks as well. For instance, it doesn’t save the modified picture in your camera roll, unlike Instagram.

Instagram has become so ingrained with users that uprooting it will take much more than an app which shares exclusively on Facebook and using it means flooding un-wanting users with pictures of things you find interesting but they have no interest in.

At the end of the day, where Facebook Camera falls short is in it not being a photo-exclusive platform. It comes with the baggage that is “Facebook.” Bonafide photography applications, such as Instagram and Camera+, cater to those who have a hobby for photography. They created an environment where those users can stretch their wings with exotic shots that they wouldn’t necessarily want to share with their Facebook friends.

Facebook Camera caters to the Facebook crowds whose pictures are less interesting than the Instagram crowd. But they are much, much more numerous. For once, however, Facebook has created a mobile app that is actually good. Hopefully that’s a sign of what’s to come for the regular Facebook app.

Brace yourselves, everyone, the Facebook Camera posters are coming.

Lebanese iPhone Users: How To Get AT&T To Unlock It

This works for any iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G and original iPhone purchased for full-retail price from the US and it’s locked to AT&T, using hacks to make it work in Lebanon.

I currently have the iPhone 4S, which I got factory unlocked. However, I went through every iPhone update except the 3G so the first one I got, the original iPhone, was locked to AT&T and I managed to get an unlock process opened for it today going through the following route.

1 – Write down the phone’s IMEI number.

2 – Download the application “Vonage” on any smartphone that has it. This is an app that will allow you to call US numbers for free. You can get the iOS version here.

3 – Call the following AT&T number using Vonage: +18003310500 – wait for the operator to finish talking then press 1. When it starts talking again, press 0 immediately so you don’t go through the whole list and it will connect you to a customer care representative. Your waiting time shouldn’t be long. For me, it was less than a minute.

4 – The first thing the representative will ask of you is for your AT&T number. Tell them you don’t have have an AT&T contract and that you heard about the iPhone unlocks and would like to unlock your contract-free iPhone, which you bought for full retail price.

5 – At that point, they will take your name, last name, email address and ask you for a phone number. Let them know that you are currently outside of the United States so you prefer to be contacted via email, and make sure they spell out the email for you. However, they’re going to require a phone number to open a case for you so give them your Lebanese phone number in the following format: 961xxxxxxx .

6 – Then they will ask you for the IMEI number. Make sure you have it on you and read it to them. They will repeat it for you. Make sure they have it correctly. A one digit difference can mess things up.

7 – Soon after, they will put you on hold for a few minutes as they check the information you gave them. If all checks out, which it should, they will give you a case number. Make sure you have a paper and pen at your disposal to write it down. Then read it back to them to make sure you have it correctly.

8 – You’re done. Once you’re given a case number, it means your request has to go through the motions of reaching Apple and them sending you the unlock code. I was given a delay till April 17th but I expect to have my original iPhone unlocked sooner.

The whole process took about 20 minutes to finish. It’s pretty streamlined and straightforward. Don’t panic about your English – the customer care representative I spoke to was not American and my English was better than him. Make sure you have all the info you need prepped and you’re good to go.

Just an extra hint, American customer service is actually quite awesome. They care about their customers’ well-being, unlike many Lebanese companies. So be truthful, meaning don’t go all Lebanese-7arboo2 on them, and they’ll be more than glad to help you.

Hope this was of help.

AT&T To Start Unlocking iPhones Today, April 8th

Good news for American iPhone owners. AT&T will start offering unlocks to your devices starting today, if you’re a customer in good standing.

According to MacRumors, they received the following statement:

Beginning Sunday, April 8, we will offer qualifying customers the ability to unlock their AT&T iPhones. The only requirements are that a customer’s account must be in good standing, their device cannot be associated with a current and active term commitment on an AT&T customer account, and they need to have fulfilled their contract term, upgraded under one of our upgrade policies or paid an early termination fee.

This is probably 5 years late on AT&T’s part – iPhones should have been unlocked the moment their contract was up. But for many American customers, this is great news.

I hope they won’t be very strict with the whole “good standing,” “fulfilled term” stuff. My brother will attempt to get his iPhone 4 unlocked soon and I’ll let you know how it goes with him.

For many Lebanese users, this might mean you’ll be able to finally get your AT&T phones unlocked – I’m sure you’re smart enough to find a loophole somewhere you can use.


Samsung Street Challenge: Galaxy Note vs iPhone – Big Failure!

It looks like Samsung isn’t bored of taking on Apple’s users with its ads. The latest is a street challenge where they got an iPhone user with a Galaxy Note user and asked them to perform three different tasks with the phone.

Needless to say, the Galaxy Note performed all three. The iPhone? None.

Let’s get a few things straight.

1) There’s a simple app to crop someone’s face on the iPhone.

2) The maps app actually allows you to draw trajectories. It’ even automated. You don’t have to hold a stylus to draw a road.

3) Keynote, anyone?

The only thing this “ad” does is expose the iPhone user as pretty much clueless. Not only does she have absolutely no freaking idea what to do with her phone, I don’t think she should be owning a smartphone in the first place.

Either way, if your idea of an awesome phone is a brick against your ear, then fine by me. But these ads that insult a viewer’s intelligence need to stop. Oh and did Samsung forgot to get the memo that styluses are not “in” anymore with modern day technology?

Les Apple Addict

A hilarious French video that has went viral in the past couple of days…. “Plus en plus de gens autour de moi qui font l’acquisition d’un mac. Mais pour eux c’est pas un simple ordinateur comme un PC. Non, pour eux Apple c’est une religion!”

Insert 5 minutes of him making fun of the whole Mac/iPhone obsession – even down the the most minute detail, the box. You know you’ve kept your macbook’s box somewhere.

Regardless, iPhones and Mac are awesome! Want a demo? :p